February 26, 2010
Cambodia opened a luxury, $100 million casino Friday hoping to attract more foreign tourists and promote its fast-growing entertainment industry, casino owners said.
The Titan King Casino, located along the Vietnam border, is one of a number that have sprung up along the country’s frontiers with Vietnam and Thailand, attracting thousands of gamblers.
The Ministry of Finance says Cambodia earned $19 million from 29 casinos in 2008. But revenue fell to $17 million in 2009 because of a decline in tourist arrivals and a border dispute with Thailand.
The Titan King Casino is owned by Kith Thieng, a business tycoon close to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
In a message posted on the casino’s Web site, Kith Thieng said the town of Bavet, where the casino is located, was fast becoming an entertainment center “much like Las Vegas and Macau.” Bavet is 68 miles (110 kilometers) southeast of the capital Phnom Penh.
Hear Sopheaktra, assistant to the owner, said the casino would help attract more foreign tourists.